broken screw after spinal fusion
I am new to this site and I'd like to thank everyone who has posted their experience with spinal pain in order to lend support to others. Currently, I 'm looking for some answers about my condition.
Here is my history:
*I am a 47 year old female
*During HS, College and approx 3 yrs after was a high jumper and trained 4-7 days a week, so pain in my back was frequent, but certainly not debilitating. Would rest if it got bad, then returned to training.
*Fast forward about 10 years (and two children later) started to experience more frequent back pain, intermittently, It started out as a dull ache, sometimes a few days of bed rest would help, then increased to severe sciatica pain at the 9 year mark.
*Saw my PCP a few months after having my third child because the pain was getting unbearable. She ordered an MRI.
*MRI showed ruptured discs in L4, L5, S1
*PCP called two days later and said exactly this "I am looking at your results and I can't believe what I'm seeing. You have to be in horrible pain". I'm not being a martyr, but it just helped to validate that something was really wrong and it wasn't just a sore back from having three young kids, running around, etc. Maybe it was due to my high jumping training and coupled with age... Not sure, but probably.
*Referred to Neurosurgeon
*Neurosurgeon visit was OK, but Dr. was rather "cocky" (sorry..but he was!) and was very aloof about my situation.
*Treated me with pain meds (UGGGHHH) for approximately 9 months before realizing this wasn't the answer.
*Had a laminectomy
*No relief of pain, probably worsened
*About 6 mos after laminectomy, Dr. was getting "impatient" with me...again...UGGHHH...and said a spinal fusion was the only option he had left.
*Spinal fusion was done . Had a rod put in my spine and hardware at L4, L5, S1. Had about a 6-8 week recovery period that I think was pretty typical..? Bad pain at first, then slowly started to decrease with PT.
*During the following 7-8 years, the pain significantly decreased. Sometimes would wake up in the middle of the night with pain in my hips, butt, or lower back, but nothing too serious.
*At 8 years (almost to the date) after being pretty comfortable and not really thinking about it too much, I started having dull pain in my tailbone. I thought I bruised it working out with a friend who was personal trainer and did our workout outside (sit ups, planks, etc).
*Pain increased gradually from Dec-April.
* In April went on vacation and was so uncomfortable during the plane ride and then on vacation, I was close to tears.
*Appt with PCP in May re: severe tailbone pain
*PCP ordered an XRAY
*Results showed that the screw at L5 had broken in half and there was also a "lucency" on the test at the base of my spine..
*PCP sent my results to a Neurosurgeon (who performed the Spinal Fusion) and he concurred and order a CT.
*Had my CT tonight
OK, so this is where my questions come in after my "novel" above.
1. Could the broken screw be causing my now SEVERE pain in the tailbone area?
2. What does the "lucency" mean exactly and could that be the source of the pain?
3. If the hardware breaks after a spinal fusion, will I definitely need another surgery?
4. What is the recovery period like if I have to have this done?
Sorry this is so long-winded. I am just about ready to jump into the canal. The pain is pretty severe at times, almost worse in many ways than my original pain before the back surgeries. I'm just wondering if I'll have to just live with this, or will some type of surgery or PT be able to stop the pain?
During the last few months, I have been taking Motrin (4 200 mgs tablets every 5-6 hours to stay ahead of the pain). I work in a high school as a guidance counselor and sit for part of the day, and then run around the building for part of the day. I coach basketball and am pretty active, but am finding that when I bend over, I'm OK, but then getting back "up" from that position is terrible. Movement, sleeping, etc is getting increasingly worse.
I don't lift very heavy things, I haven't worked out for months and I have trouble finding comfortable shoes to wear that support my back. I like to wear heels for work, nothing crazy, just the average heel-but I'm finding that it's more painful to even put the shoes on, never mind wear them for a full day at work. I guess I'm just curious/looking to see if anyone has experienced a similar situation and how it is going and/or how it turned out. I'm just a regular person, trying (like all of you on this site) to live a normal, typical life. I never expected to be "pain-free" in terms of my back because looking back at the crazy exercises I did as a high jumper would cause anyone to have a problem with their back. However, this it's getting harder by the day to drive, do laundry, etc...just normal activities. And, again, (like all of you on this site) I'm just wondering if I am going to have to live with it or if I'll need another surgery.
If, by chance, you've actually read this whole post...God Bless You ...because I'm ranting...but any ideas/comments/suggestions??
Thank you and hoping that everyone is feeling OK and finding some type of relief b/c until you've experienced chronic back issues, it's difficult to understand the magnitude of pain that's associated with it and how it impacts your health (physically, mentally and emotionally) and your overall quality of life.
Thanks again and Best of Luck to everyone.